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Though deep yet clear ; though gentle yet not dull;
Staines and Chertsey with their respective bridges are the next places that are washed by the Thames. The scenery of Ham Farm, Woo
, burn Farm, and Oatlands, give beauty and splendour to its banks; and having passed the small retired village of Shepperton, and flowed through Walton Bridge, its Middlesex side is decorated with a long line of handsome mansions that form the beauty of Sunbury and Hampton. Here the palace is a magnificent object, and the stream glides on between the royal Park on the one side, and the elegant country houses of Thames Ditton on the other, till it reaches the ancient county town of Kingston in Surrey. The river now assumes a more polished, and, as it has long possessed, a classical character. Twickenham with its gardens and its meads, and Ham, scarce seen in its leafy bowers, adorn the banks of the river, till it flows beneath the lofty brow of Richmond; when it passes on, with the tide's accelerated wave, between the royal Gardens, and the lawns of Sion
to Kew, where its rural character, may be said almost to end; or at least is blended, with the mill and the manufactory, the lengthened street, the active occupations of life, and the busy hum of men. It now reaches the metropolis, and having washed the shores of the first city, it becomes itself the finest harbour, in the world. It afterwards assumes a new and indeed a stupenduous character. Forests of masts, docks of vast extent, the great naval arsenals, and the immense living navigation, possess and adorn it till after a course of more than two hundred miles, it yields its abundant waters to the sea.
The charms Italian meadows shower,
But willing labour's careful train,
THE SOURCE OF THE THAMES.
The source of the Thames, like that of the Nile, has been variously assigned in consequence of the different contributary springs which feed its early stream from the borders of Gloucestershire and Wiltshire. But on the authority of ancient maps, deeds, and other antiquarian documents, as well as the name of the spot itself, which in all time has borne the title of the Thames Head, the river must be said to issue in a sinall valley in the parish of Cotes, in Gloucestershire, at the distance of about two miles and an half from Cirencester, a considerable town in the same county: The soil of the field where the spring rises is a fine gravel; a very uncommon circumstance in the open country of Cotswould. At a small distance from the source it runs under the Akman-street Road, leading from Cirencester to Bath, and enters the parish of Kemble in the county of Wilts. It runs for about a mile, widening very considerably from the accession of several other springs, till it comes opposite to the village already named, which rises prettily on its upland situation, crowned with its taper spire, an object that enlivens the surrounding country. The stream now acquires the breadth of about twelve yards, over which there is a foot-bridge formed by large stones laid on piles, which may be considered as the first on the river, unless a couple of flat stones laid across its previous and much narrower stream, may claim that title.
At a small distance from the spring, but on the high ground above it, runs the canal, made a few years since to form a junction between the Thames and the Severn: and about half a mile from hence, nearly opposite to the village of Cotes, is one of the entrances of the tunnel dug for the purpose of conveying the canal under Saperton Hill.
SOURCE OF THE THAMES. This tunnel was excavated in a direct line of two miles and a quarter through a variety of strata, though consisting chiefly of rock, underneath the hill, and presents a very novel and striking effect to those whose curiosity attracts them to visit it. . A boat is kept in constant attendance for this purpose at the entrance next the village of Cotes. At the distance of near a quarter of a mile from the commencement of this subterraneous excursion, the opposite outlet towards Saperton, though as just mentioned in a direct line, is completely eclipsed by the broad glare of day, which penetrates the cavern to that distance from the mouth. Proceeding onwards, as the gloom increases it first presents itself 10 the sight twinkling like the solitary star of evening in the broad expanse of heaven, and keeps continually increasing on the eye, till a delightful range of rural scenery beyond gives a grateful relief to the uniform insipidity of protracted gloominess and shade.